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Aggressive Meyers Parrot

alyssaklop

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I joined this forum to ask for some help with my Meyers parrot. I got him around 5 months ago from someone rehoming him. The lady told me he’s around 4 years old. I’m having issues with him being aggressive, and I believe it’s gotten worse since I’ve gotten him. He bites when anything makes him angry. For example, if im holding him and he sees my roommate (who he doesn’t like) he’ll chomp onto my finger hard enough to draw blood until I can somehow pry him off.

My hands are covered with bite marks and scars. I don’t think it’s a matter of him being afraid or building trust. I’ve trained him to do tricks. He loves to be pet and sit on my shoulder. It’s just sometimes he gets angry and decides to latch on to my hands. It’s not a warning bite. I’d describe it as an attack. I’d say this happens maybe twice/three times a week. If the bites weren’t as awful as they are I would be ok with it. I’m just tired of the blood and being afraid of him. Do you have any suggestions to curb this behavior?
 

Sunni Tiel

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Bump!
 

Mizzely

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I personally would not allow him to be on me at all if that's how he's going to act. It's really hard to stop biting as it is happening. Best is to avoid it completely whenever possible as they can be self reinforcing. Sounds likes he's got some displaced aggression you need to work with! Figure out his triggers and try to give him alternative outlets and work towards positive interactions with those triggers. For example, the roommate could work on giving treats, so that your bird understands they're not a threat.
 

alyssaklop

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I personally would not allow him to be on me at all if that's how he's going to act. It's really hard to stop biting as it is happening. Best is to avoid it completely whenever possible as they can be self reinforcing. Sounds likes he's got some displaced aggression you need to work with! Figure out his triggers and try to give him alternative outlets and work towards positive interactions with those triggers. For example, the roommate could work on giving treats, so that your bird understands they're not a threat.
thanks for the response! I used to get her to give my bird treats until he decided to bite her while she was doing it. I just can’t ask her to do that anymore. I’ve noticed if I’m holding him around new people he will bite. Some random objects can also make him angry.

It’s so sad because he can be really sweet! He steps up just fine and asks for head scratches. I just feel like the bites can really come out of nowhere.
 

camelotshadow

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Good Luck with that. I know the bite feels like an attack & it can be brutal.

:sadhug2:

I never really figured out the cause for my Meyers bite but it was only once or twice a year so it was not too much of a problem &
so infrequent that it was difficult to think why but it did seem to come out of nowhere for her too.

I agree with Shawna that if the biting is 2 or 3 times a week then you have to go back & try to start over.

Biting that is allowed is only reinforcing the issue & making it worse.

You will have to try to find ways to interact that don't include holding which gives the bird the upper hand & chance to bite whenever.

Deal with their needs & emotions. Try to figure out by watching them what sort of things upset them. Hold them with a perch.
Unfortunately when a bird learns that biting brings them some sort of positive reaction (the drama, the stress release, the feel, the power whatever it gets from it) then they will continue to do it.

Best way is to avoid situations where you can get bit & its harder as the bird can be handled & is sweet most of the time
but you need to be in a position to not have them get to that point where they even want to bite let alone do it so
you have a chance to extinguish it.
 

MnGuy

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A female Meyer's I adopted a long time ago used to bite pretty hard, too, but it was mostly a trust issue. We got over it, thankfully. However, my Meyer's could be quite aggressive with other birds when it came to keeping my attention, so I'm not surprised you're experiencing this with yours.

It sounds like your bird is possessive of you. I think it'd be good to be careful not to overstimulate him by petting him in sexual zones, and to teach him how to hang out on his own on a play tree or on top of his cage for some part of the day. It'd be good not to make him co-dependent on you, and not to turn yourself into his personal human perch 24/7 whenever he's out of his cage.

Your roommate could offer him a treat using a big spoon so her fingers are not near his beak. Although I would first suggest that you teach him to accept treats from a spoon so he doesn't view it as a threat when your roommate does it. Use the same spoon every time. It might be good to have all guests do that if they're up for it.

I also agree that it's a good idea to use a perch to "hold him" instead of allowing him on your hand/body while your roommate and people are around.


Good luck.
 

alyssaklop

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Good Luck with that. I know the bite feels like an attack & it can be brutal.

:sadhug2:

I never really figured out the cause for my Meyers bite but it was only once or twice a year so it was not too much of a problem &
so infrequent that it was difficult to think why but it did seem to come out of nowhere for her too.

I agree with Shawna that if the biting is 2 or 3 times a week then you have to go back & try to start over.

Biting that is allowed is only reinforcing the issue & making it worse.

You will have to try to find ways to interact that don't include holding which gives the bird the upper hand & chance to bite whenever.

Deal with their needs & emotions. Try to figure out by watching them what sort of things upset them. Hold them with a perch.
Unfortunately when a bird learns that biting brings them some sort of positive reaction (the drama, the stress release, the feel, the power whatever it gets from it) then they will continue to do it.

Best way is to avoid situations where you can get bit & its harder as the bird can be handled & is sweet most of the time
but you need to be in a position to not have them get to that point where they even want to bite let alone do it so
you have a chance to extinguish it.
Thanks! It really sounds like starting from square one is the best option at this point. When would you suggest I make the transition from interacting with him with only the perch to being more hands on?
 

MnGuy

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I'm no expert, but I'd say start as soon as possible. But also use that perch time to get him to accept your roommate more.
 

camelotshadow

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It takes a while to have a parrot rethink & reform patterns they have learned.
Best luck will be to observe & try to figure out if there is something setting him off.
If its become a way of dealing with insecurity or anger or boredom whatever
some of these things can only be minimized. There has to be a long enough period
with positive reinforcement to 1 not have the triggers (if you can figure them out) &
2 to not allow him the chance to get in a bite.
 

fashionfobie

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When would you suggest I make the transition from interacting with him with only the perch to being more hands on?
I wouldn't plan too far ahead. Take it one day at a time. Birds will always be unique and deal with their adjustments at their own pace. You will not know when you can 'transition' him yet.

It may even be better to assess the reality of your bird. He may be not like being touched. Touch is a very different thing for parrots than other mammals you may have experience with. Dogs, cats or your human family may find comfort and safety from contact. Parrots however can find it very stimulating and it is important to understand it is a sexual behaviour. He may not want to be your mate, and that is perfectly reasonable. There are plenty of hands off activities you can work towards.

Think link goes into the Nitty gritty which may help you. Site Name - Articles - Behavioral - Sex And The Psittacine

I'm my personal opinion it is better to build a relationship from foraging activities and games, not scritching. Scritches should reflect actual parrot interaction and not be prolonged to a point the parrot gets frustrated. Unwanted touch only encourages the bird to really make it clear to us that enough is enough by biting.

I hope you find some of this helpful.
 
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alyssaklop

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I wouldn't plan too far ahead. Take it one day at a time. Birds will always be unique and deal with their adjustments at their own pace. You will not know when you can 'transition' him yet.

It may even be better to assess the reality of your bird. He may be not like being touched. Touch is a very different thing for parrots than other mammals you may have experience with. Dogs, cats or your human family may find comfort and safety from contact. Parrots however can find it very stimulating and it is important to understand it is a sexual behaviour. He may not want to be your mate, and that is perfectly reasonable. There are plenty of hands off activities you can work towards.

Think link goes into the Nitty gritty which may help you. Site Name - Articles - Behavioral - Sex And The Psittacine

I'm my personal opinion it is better to build a relationship from foraging activities and games, not scritching. Scritches should reflect actual parrot interaction and not be prolonged to a point the parrot gets frustrated. Unwanted touch only encourages the bird to really make it clear to us that enough is enough by biting.

I hope you find some of this helpful.
I don’t touch him unless he asks to be pet or wants to step up. I’ve never been bitten from scratching him or pushing him to be touched past a point he doesn’t like. The bites only happen after he voluntarily steps up. There’s never lunging at my hands from in the cage. Only while he is on me. He would just lean down and bite my hand while he’s on it. Maybe I just don’t put him back in a time span he’d prefer.

I have been trying the perch approach, and I think it’s making him more aggressive. He now attacks the perch every time I bring it near him. He desperately wants me to pick him up again and he’s been flying onto me from the cage.
 

Nnoki'smom

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My little girl is 2 years old. She gets aggressive everytime I open the mail. She will literally attack the mail key, and if I am holing an envelope she will fly at my hands and bit. It definitely hurts. She also will fly and grab at my hair and fly off really fast if I am not paying attention to bedtime. She too is very sweet most of the time, and will do tricks and sit near me. I have found that I just have to either put her in her cage when I am getting the mail, or wait till she is in bed. And I have to turn out the lights in her room and be settled by 7:30 or she is going to let me know. Of course I know she runs my house in these ways, but in so many other ways she accommodates me, so I am ok with it. I personally would just put her away when your roommate is around. Meyers Parrots are fairly solitary birds in the wild so expecting them to acclimate to more than one person is not very realistic.
 

Elysian

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I'm really inclined to think this is a common trait in pois.
My Senegal is 27, I adopted him 7 months ago.
He loves me. He will do anything for scritches, and he wants to be close to me - but any time I let him on my body he is liable to "attack".
I have also not yet been able to pin down a particular trigger. Sometimes he does it immediately after stepping up when he ASKED me to pick him up. And they are pitbull bites for sure. Hard, clamping, tearing bites.
I have scars.

We're doing really well just working with a dowel rod though. (He doesn't like my t perch). I bring him out regularly and let him sit on a perch or stand near me - where I can reach him to scritch but he cannot reach to climb on me.
I wish I could be more hands on with him but we're slowly getting there - we trust each other enough that I can lift his wings. Just no hand or shoulder perching allowed!

Avoiding letting it happy at all is important so it doesn't become too much of a habit.
 
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